To plan your future it’s good to know where you have come from. I’m not talking about being at uni, then popping into Sainsburys on your way back home; I am talking about ancestry.
If you don’t know much about your family history, you may be missing out. Take it from a guy who really didn’t give a damn, but now finds the whole subject rather fascinating. My grandmother is the matriarch of the family (Amazing cook, big country estate and a wealth of knowledge of all things WW2 related) and she is the go to person to as about the various offshoots of family we have all over the country. Simple questions about “Old Uncle Robert” divert off into stories about “that woman”, who stole the second cousin removed away from the family of the auntie who was left on the doorstop of my great great grandmothers house. It’s these complications that led me to simply zone out when I was younger and pay more attention to the three beautiful labradors she owns. However, as I grew older I found that the family history crept back into my life, namely because my mum took it upon herself to create a document that chronicles the entire history of our clan. I shrugged this off as something that would be too much hard work and she would (hopefully) give up on, but ten years on and this document is pretty monstrous, and incredibly detailed.
So everyone wishes they were descendants of royalty or someone really famous.
I am not.
In fact I am descended from river gypsies, farmers and murderers. Not the best thing to bring up in polite conversation, but I have in awkward situations, and it’s gone down a treat.
My mother likes to point out two amazing facts that I do use in polite conversation, and partly I believe explains why I am the way I am. Firstly one of my ancestors was the last woman in the UK to be hung for arson. As my grandmother remarks “this was a dark day in our family”, and although it’s rather impressive, the arsonist failed to kill the people she was trying to burn alive at the time, so she is seen as somewhat of a failure. Secondly way back in my family history (like great great great great grandfather time) there was a case when a brother married his sister. At the time a lot of my family had the same names (fathers would name sons after themselves for some odd reason), so my mother has tried to find evidence that perhaps they weren’t siblings. However looking at how crazy my family are I have no doubt that that was the case.
Therefore I am incredibly British.
To the extent of being inbred.
Fabulous party conversation starter.
So there you have it, family history can be interesting, and you can learn odd and horrifying facts that you never needed to know. If you want to trace your family then check out Find My Past which help you and others to discover all about your ancestry.
It may seem like a daunting task, but the positives outweigh the negatives. Remember how you had no interesting facts to say at that dinner party…